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BattleTech: Heavy Metal

Posted by GG Goblin On December - 9 - 2019

Like the metal wasn’t heavy enough already.

 
Some games are released and then just sit there, as is, for the rest of their lives. Other games keep expanding, growing and evolving over time through an extensive catalogue of expansions and DLC. Both types of games have their place, but there is something special about games that grow, and are often substantially different, over the course of their lives, no matter how you feel about the cost of having to buy the extra stuff. Paradox Interactive are well known for the constant stream of DLC for their games, and the Harebrained Schemes developed BattleTech is no exception. BattleTech brought excellent turn-based tactical Mech combat to PCs, and the addition of a season pass with the promise of three new expansions only promised to make it even better. Now, around a year and a half later, the final part of the season pass has already blessed season pass holders and is available individually. Heavy Metal brings new Mechs and weapons to the game, along with a new mini Flashpoint campaign. While undoubtedly one for the long-term BattleTech fans, will Heavy Metal prove its worth to the gods of metal, or is it a little bit more glam rock?

 


 
The previous two expansions for BattleTech, Flashpoint and Urban Warfare, brought new game mechanics to the universe of giant war machine battles, and they both made a big difference to the game. The Heavy Metal expansion takes a different approach though. Instead of offering new systems to further expand the game, Heavy Metal is all about offering some new toys to the players, expanding their choices, while also perhaps giving a slight nod and wink to those players who are well versed in the long time BattleTech lore.

 
BattleTech itself has been around for more than thirty years, and in that time a huge amount of lore has been created through the tabletop game and the books, giving the developers at Harebrained Schemes plenty to draw on for their latest expansion. Many of the references will only mean anything to the most avid BattleTech fans, but that doesn’t mean that those who discovered BattleTech with this PC game won’t be very happy with what they find in the Heavy Metal expansion.

 
First up, there is the heavy metal itself. Seven classic BattleMechs from BattleTech history are on offer in the expansion. In alphabetical order, we have the Annihilator, Archer, Assassin, Flea, Phoenix Hawk, Rifleman, and Vulcan making an appearance in the game and offering everything from light and fast to stupidly heavy and powerful. Those new to BattleTech will find something here to fit every situation, while the long time fans will know where these Mechs have come from and what they mean in the universe. The Mech fun doesn’t stop there though, as the developers have dropped in one further BattleMech, a brand new creation for this expansion, called the Bull Shark.

 


 
More Mechs is always a good thing, and the fact that these Mechs are integrated into whatever the player is doing, whether they are starting a new campaign or already part way through, means that players will either encounter these Mechs through the course of play, or be able to add them to their own roster straight away. Making these new Mechs even more interesting is the fact that each one comes with a special piece of equipment that further makes them stand out, from clustering missiles in a tighter formation, to ignoring evasion bonuses.

 
In addition to the new Mechs, Heavy Metal also brings eight new weapon systems for players to have fun with. These weapons bring new tactics to the game rather than just increasing the firepower. They can take a little while to learn how to use effectively, and players will undoubtedly find ways to integrate specific weapons into their own tactical set ups. From a weapon that converts moved energy into kinetic energy to launch at a foe, to shotgun style weapons and even an area or effect weapon, the new selection will get player rethinking how they approach their enemies and are certainly welcome.

 
The new Mechs and weapons make up the majority of this expansion, but there is also a new Flashpoint mini campaign that features The Black Widow and The Bounty Hunter, both classic BattleTech characters. If you already know of these two characters, then there mere mention will be something to be excited about. For the regular players though, this is only a small addition to what is already a pretty massive game.

 


 
Available individually, as in not only as part of the season pass, Heavy Metal may seem a bit pricey for some new Mechs, new weapons and a small piece of story. But while the previous two expansions offered by way of obvious game expanding features, the features here are more subtle, but no less game changing. The new Mechs with their unique modules will have players changing their long practised tactics, as will the new weapons, and the new Flashpoint is pretty cool even if you have no idea who Black Widow and Bounty Hunter are. So yeah, price may be the sticking point, but the content really is pretty good. The big fans of the game will already have the season pass and so already have Heavy Metal. For the newcomers though, Heavy Metal is not as essential as the other two expansions, but still loads of fun and worth considering.

 

 ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ 



 

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